Baked Chili Cheese Chips

Sometimes inspiration strikes at the weirdest times. Trey and I were driving home from California, a twenty-two hour trip for us that stretched out over two days. As you can probably guess, we ate a few meals in the car on the way home that would rate fairly low on the healthy scale (if you were to rate them). Road trips aren’t a bad time to indulge in a few gas-station junk food favorites, and so we did. At one stop, Trey walked back to the car carrying a bag of Fritos Chili Cheese flavored chips. And of course, I had to snag a few (who doesn’t love Fritos?!).

But as I was munching a few of his chips, mostly focused on the drive ahead, the thought just popped in my head, “I could totally make a healthier version of this.” And so, I did.

This is a lightened up version of that favorite snack, it’s dairy-free, with all ingredients you can pronounce, but they are still dangerously good. Below I’ll share the recipe to make a pretty large batch because why go to the trouble if you’re only going to make a few? But you certainly could divide this recipe in half if you like.

Baked Chili Cheese Chips, makes 4-5 cups of chips (14 oz. when I weighed the bag)

30 corn tortillas
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

First cut the corn tortillas into small strips. I think a pizza cutter works best here. Then divide the strips into two gallon sized ziplock bags. Add three tablespoons of oil to each bag and toss well. You are aiming to get every tortilla strip coated in a little oil here. Use the remaining two tablespoons of oil to coat two large baking sheets.

In a bowl, stir together the nutritional yeast, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir well. Then add half of the mixture to each bag, tossing so everything gets coated.

Distribute the tortilla strips between the two baking sheets, and then bake at 400°F for 25-30 minutes, tossing and rotating the pans every 8-10 minutes so all the pieces cook evenly (or as evenly as possible).

I love these over chili or a soup. I also made a taco salad the other night that I crunched a few of these over and that was also delicious. You do you.

Note: If you cut this recipe in half, keep in mind you may not need to prepare two baking sheets. Also, if you make a larger batch by doubling this recipe, then you will need more. You want the strips to be in one layer when baking, so prepare enough baking sheets accordingly.

Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography : Emma Chapman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.
  • These look so yummy! They remind me of fast food restaurants and diners for some reason 🙂

  • Whoa, I had totally forgot about Fritos! My friend lives in Jordan and I live in Norway and we have a list of recipes for recreating our favorite American snacks. Adding this one!

  • I just have to try those, amazing how easy they are to make!

  • I love this idea! Curious science teacher! What role does the yeast play in the recipe?

    • Nutritional Yeast offers a cheesy flavor without having to use cheese. I think it just keeps the recipe vegan.

        • Exactly. I believe it’s a form of dehydrated yeast. And it tastes a lot like cheese so it’s really useful in vegan and dairy-free cooking. I love the stuff for when I’m choosing to eat less cheese. 🙂

  • This is genius! Being pregos, I crave ships All. Of. The. Time. and i have tons of corn taco shells. I will definitely be trying this! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  • This recipe look amazing! I need to make this tonight <3

  • This was such a great idea! I never would have thought of this. Can’t wait to try these, I have always loved fritos. 🙂

  • I never would have though to make my own fritos…I mean, they’re the snack food of all snack foods. Can’t wait to try these out!

  • OMG, I love it! Chili cheese fritos are my favorite and I only allow myself them when road tripping. I will definitely be making these!

    • Link please! And Dana is the queen of nutritional yeast. I LOVE her site. 🙂

  • What a creative way to make these with tortilla! Sounds super delicious!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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